18 June 2024

Notes from the book - Extreme Ownership

 This is a solid book. You must have read A lot of the principles in various books. What makes it special is the storyline, and lessons learned from SEAL training & War experiences.

The book has 12 chapters around 12 key principles.

Every chapter starts with an anecdote from a war experience.

That follows a principle explanation

and followed by the “application to business’ section.

This is another way to read the book if you wish to skip the war experience storytelling.

I particularly found application to business helpful.

Here is what I learned from it.

  1. Extreme ownership- acknowledge mistakes, not blame others. It is about leading the team to success.
  2. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. Extreme Ownership means taking full responsibility for projects, teams, and outcomes.
  3. It is not what you preach, it's what you tolerate. Focus on Quality and performance. Set Benchmarks. Iterate until teams achieve those and provide support to make those happen.
  4. Believing in the cause and spreading the ‘why’. Understanding why something is being done helps teams persevere through challenges.
  5. Team and mission should always be above ego. Operating with a high degree of humility is important for leaders and teams.
  6. Success is always a shared goal. It comes from understanding the end goal and the role everyone has to play to get there.
  7. Complexity compounds every problem. Keeping things simple and concise is important. This applies to communication, protocols, expectations, goals, and everything.
  8. Focus and execute. Determine the highest priority tasks and execute them. It helps not lose focus, or get lost in the details. Communicate priorities. Ask for inputs. then go solve them and execute. Repeat the process.
  9. Setting up decentralized command. setup boundaries and within those, let everyone make decisions and experiment. It is important for leaders to step back and have a bigger and broader point of view.
  10. Planing is the most critical part of executing any mission. Even more important is the post-mission brief. It is critical to reflect and learn. Consider that as your own feedback loop. The purpose of the plan - objectives should be clear to all the folks responsible for executing it.
  11. Leading up/down the chain. The big picture should be always understood by the team. Leaders and teams must understand each other’s roles. They are always working to achieve a common goal. Take responsibility for leading everyone be it superiors or juniors or peers.
  12. Leaders must act decisively amid uncertainty based on available information. The picture is never complete, perfect or 100% data is available.

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